Can a person accurately evaluate/appraise an item just from photos and a description?
Up to a point, yes. If we’re going to be brokering an item for a client, we start with very good digital photographs, a detailed description, condition report, “history,” etc. If these are good, up to date and complete, they can tell us what something is or is not about 90% of the time. Eventually, one way or another, we will see the item that is to be brokered before it’s sold. This is essential in the case of very expensive artwork and other items. We must feel (regardless of what some other appraiser or expert might have said or written) 100% confident that what we offer our buyers is exactly as we represent it, to prevent the seller as well as us from having potential problems down the road. Often (not unlike other appraisers and major auction houses) we will consult with trusted “outside experts” in very specific areas or fields, to further authenticate or evaluate an item, so we are as accurate as possible regarding authentication, condition, identification, “market appeal” and o